Sam Wyche

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Sam Wyche
No. 15, 14, 17
Quarterback
Personal information
Date of birth: (1945-01-05) January 5, 1945 (age 69)
Place of birth: Atlanta, Georgia
Height: 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) Weight: 218 lb (99 kg)
Career information
College: Furman
Undrafted in 1968
Debuted in 1968 for the Cincinnati Bengals
Last played in 1976 for the St. Louis Cardinals
Career history
 As player:
 As coach:
Career highlights and awards
  • 2x Division championships (1988, 1990)
  • Conference championship (1988)
Career NFL statistics as of 1976
Passing attempts 222
Passing completions 116
Percentage 52.3
TD-INT 12-9
Passing yards 1,748
QB rating 79.6
Stats at NFL.com
Stats at pro-football-reference.com

Samuel David "Sam" Wyche (born January 5, 1945) is a former American football player and current coach at Pickens High School in South Carolina. Wyche is a former player and former head coach for the Cincinnati Bengals. Perhaps best known for introducing the use of the No-huddle offense as a standard offense (as opposed to use at the end of the half), Wyche's greatest achievement as a head coach was leading the Cincinnati Bengals to Super Bowl XXIII, which they lost to the 49ers 20–16, relinquishing the lead with only 34 seconds remaining.

Wyche's 64 wins with the Bengals were the most by a coach in franchise history until October 30, 2011, when he was surpassed by Marvin Lewis.

Wyche also played for the Washington Redskins, Detroit Lions, and St. Louis Cardinals. He also coached at the University of South Carolina and Indiana University, and for the San Francisco 49ers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Buffalo Bills.

Playing career[edit]

College[edit]

From 1963 to 1965, Wyche played college football at Furman University as a quarterback He was also an initiated member of Kappa Alpha Order fraternity.

He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Furman University and his Masters of Business Administration degree from the University of South Carolina.[1]

Professional[edit]

From 1966 through 1967, Wyche played for the Wheeling Ironmen of the Continental Football League.

He signed with the American Football League expansion Cincinnati Bengals for the 1968 season, when he started three games and also served as backup to John Stofa and Dewey Warren. In his rookie season, he completed 35 passes in 55 attempts (63.6 percent) for 494 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed 12 times for 74 yards (a 6.2 average) and caught one pass for five yards.[2]

In his second season, 1969, he played in seven games, again starting three, as Bengals rookie Greg Cook eventually assumed the starting role. For the season, Wyche completed 54 passes in 108 attempts (50.0 percent) for 838 yards and seven touchdowns. He rushed 12 times for 109 yards (an 8.9 average) and one touchdown.[2]

He continued to play for the Bengals as they entered the National Football League in 1970 as part of the NFL-AFL merger. He played in all 14 games, once again starting three, with 26 completions in 57 attempts (45.6 percent) for 411 yards and three touchdowns. He rushed 19 times for 118 yards (a 6.2 average) with two touchdowns.[2]

From 1971 to 1973, he played for the Washington Redskins, who appeared in Super Bowl VII. Although playing in eight games during those two seasons, he did not attempt a pass.[2]

In 1974, he played for the Detroit Lions, with only one pass attempted. In 1976, Wyche played for the St. Louis Cardinals, completing one pass in one attempt.[2]

In 1988, Sam Wyche was inducted into the American Football Association's Semi Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Coaching career[edit]

University of South Carolina[edit]

In 1967, while at the University of South Carolina to receive his MBA, Wyche was an assistant coach for the Gamecocks.

San Francisco 49ers[edit]

Wyche was an assistant coach and directed the passing game for the San Francisco 49ers from 1979 to 1982. He was on the Coaching Staff that Won Super Bowl XVI for the San Francisco 49ers.

Indiana University[edit]

In 1983, Wyche was the head coach of the Indiana Hoosiers.

Cincinnati Bengals[edit]

Sam Wyche led the 1988 Cincinnati Bengals as Head Coach to their First Super Bowl Appearance in Super Bowl XXIII when the San Francisco 49ers defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 20 to 16, with a last minute Touchdown deciding the contest.

Wyche was hired as the head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals in 1984. Known as an emotional coach, he bonded well with his players and occasionally collided with superiors. His ongoing feud with former Houston Oilers head coach Jerry Glanville was best exemplified in late 1989, when the Bengals scored early and often in a 61–7 thrashing. He also helped stoke the flames of the Cleveland - Cincinnati intrastate rivalry with several other comments and play calling during his tenure.

Wyche is known as the "Always Innovative Sam Wyche" by Norman Chad for his unconventional play-calling. Wyche introduced the concept of having 12 or more players huddle on the field, then having a few leave the field. This was meant to confuse the defense as to the personnel grouping and give the offense an advantage. This has since been outlawed in the NFL. His Bengals were also the first to use the No-huddle/hurry-up offense as a base offense.

On December 10, 1989, during a game versus the Seattle Seahawks, Bengals fans in protest of what they perceived to be a bad call by the officials, began to throw snowballs onto the field at the referees and the Seahawks, who were at their own 4-yard line and an easy target from the bleachers. Seattle refused to continue until they stopped, and play was halted by the officials. In order to stop the onslaught, Wyche was given a house microphone to try to calm the crowd, asking fans to please point out anyone throwing anything to stadium security and chided the fans who were doing the throwing, and alluded to the reputation of their in-state rivals:[3]

On December 24, 1991, just three years after the Bengals' Super Bowl appearance, Wyche was fired by owner Mike Brown, who had taken over the team upon the death of his father, club founder Paul Brown, four months earlier. Controversy erupted when the Bengals claimed Wyche had resigned, relieving the team of any future payments, but Wyche stated he was fired.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers[edit]

Wyche was hired by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as head coach in 1992. He spent the next four years as head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers where he drafted Derrick Brooks, Warren Sapp, and John Lynch. He was dismissed at the conclusion of the 1995 season. Several players who help build the successful Bucs teams under Tony Dungy and Jon Gruden, notably Derrick Brooks, Warren Sapp and John Lynch were drafted when Wyche was coach.

Near the end of his tenure with the Bucs, Wyche participated in a lighthearted pregame promotional piece for NFL Films. At the time, Jimmy Johnson, then the recently dismissed coach of the Dallas Cowboys, was rumored to be heading to Tampa Bay to displace Wyche. During the promo, Wyche was about to address his team when general manager Rich McKay ducked his head into the room. He beckoned Wyche out of the room, and instructed him to "bring your playbook." Wyche disappeared, and in walked Johnson wearing a Buccaneers jacket, who then addressed "his" new team, to everyone's surprise.[citation needed]

Buffalo Bills[edit]

From 2004 to 2005, Wyche was the quarterbacks coach for the Buffalo Bills.

High school[edit]

In 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007, and 2008, Wyche volunteered as the offensive coordinator and quarterback coach for the Pickens High School Blue Flame in Pickens, South Carolina. He helped the Blue Flame get to the second round of the playoffs in 2006. Wyche was a registered substitute teacher in Pickens County schools.

Head coaching record[edit]

College[edit]

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
Indiana Hoosiers (Big Ten Conference) (1983)
1983 Indiana 3–8 2–7 T–8th
Indiana: 3–8 2–7
Total: 3–8

NFL[edit]

Team Year Regular Season Post Season
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
CIN 1984 8 8 0 .500 2nd in AFC Central - - - -
CIN 1985 7 9 0 .438 2nd in AFC Central - - - -
CIN 1986 10 6 0 .625 2nd in AFC Central - - - -
CIN 1987 4 11 0 .267 4th in AFC Central - - - -
CIN 1988 12 4 0 .750 1st in AFC Central 2 1 .667 Lost to San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XXIII
CIN 1989 8 8 0 .500 4th in AFC Central - - - -
CIN 1990 9 7 0 .688 1st in AFC Central 1 1 .500 Lost to Los Angeles Raiders in AFC Divisional Round
CIN 1991 3 13 0 .188 - - - -
CIN Total 61 66 0 .480 3 2 .600
TAM 1992 5 11 0 .313 3rd in NFC Central - - - -
TAM 1993 5 11 0 .313 5th in NFC Central - - - -
TAM 1994 6 10 0 .375 5th in NFC Central - - - -
TAM 1995 7 9 0 .438 5th in NFC Central - - - -
TB Total 23 41 0 .359
Total 84 107 0 .440 3 2 .600

Broadcasting career[edit]

In 1996, Wyche worked as a sports analyst with Marv Albert on a weekly NFL game for NBC. In 1997, he was promoted to the studio on NBC's weekly pre-game and half-time shows. He worked as an analyst for CBS with Kevin Harlan on the weekly NFL games from 1998 until week 2 in 2000 when his voice gave part way through a game between Miami and Minnesota. Beesley Reece came up from sideline reporting to do color commentary for the rest of that game. In 2006, he was named commentator on Westwood One's NFL Thursday night coverage, partnered with Dick Enberg. From 2006–present, he worked with Tom Werme broadcasting Southern Conference Football for Fox Sports South.

Personal[edit]

Sam Wyche and his wife, Jane, have two children, Zak and Kerry, and three grandchildren. He has been a private pilot for many years. He also enjoys golf, tennis, jogging and riding his Harley.[1]

Wyche underwent a biopsy on lymph nodes in his chest in 2000. His left vocal cord was severed during the procedure, leaving his voice consistently hoarse and scratchy. From 2004 to 2006, he was a volunteer at Pickens High School in South Carolina as a public speaker. He is an amateur magician.[4]

Whyche's brother, Bubba, was a quarterback at Tennessee and in the Canadian Football League (CFL) and World Football League (WFL).[5]

Political career[edit]

On November 4, 2008, Wyche secured a seat on the County Council for Pickens County, South Carolina.[6] Running as a member of the Republican Party, Wyche defeated Democrat Wesley Burbage for the Pickens seat, by a margin of 6,478 votes to 1,639.[6] In July 2009, Wyche let it be known that he is considering running for the GOP nomination for South Carolina's 3rd congressional district, which is being vacated by incumbent J. Gresham Barrett, who is running for Governor of South Carolina.[7]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Buffalo Bills Quarterback Coach
2004–2005
Succeeded by
Turk Schonert